Since 1995, US presidents have issued annual proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month to celebrate the contributions and achievements women have made over the course of American history. In the second of a series of short insights looking at the role of women in corporate America, we focus on the number of female CEOs across the main US indexes since 2019.
- While the number of female CEOs in the Russell 3000 has risen since 2019, it has not done so consistently.
- The proportion of female CEOs has grown the most in indexes with the largest companies, the S&P 500 and the S&P 400.
- In the two indexes with the smallest companies, the proportion of female CEOs has actually fallen.
While women are making headway as corporate directors, the proportion of female CEOs, is growing only slowly. As shown in the graph below, there were more female CEOs in 2021 than in 2019, but fewer than in 2020. As a proportion, female CEOs represented 5.5% of the total in 2019, but 5.7% in both 2020 and 2021.
Broken down by index, a more complicated picture emerges. The two indexes with the smallest companies, the Russell 3000 (excluding the S&P 1500) and the S&P 600 Small Cap show a dwindling proportion of female CEOs, falling from 5.2% and 6.6% respectively in 2019 to 5% and 5.9% in 2021. By contrast, the S&P 500 and the S&P 400 Mid Cap show an increase, from 5.3% each in 2019 to 6.5% and 8.3% respectively in 2021. Indeed, the mid cap index has had the highest proportion of female CEOs for the last two years.
Female and Male CEOs by Index, 2019-2021